Avoid these foods to keep your furry friend healthy

Keep a watchful eye on what your dog eats.
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(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)

Thousands of pets swallow toxic household products every year, resulting in poisoning or choking. What many people don’t know is that certain types of human food can also cause serious health concerns for pets.

It’s important for pet owners to know which common household foods are toxic, like chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, grapes, garlic, onions, bread dough, alcohol and coffee. PetSmart’s online learning centre provides a detailed list of foods and other common household products pets should avoid.

If a pet swallows something they’re not supposed to, call a vet immediately. To prevent this, here are some tips to keep in mind:

No leftovers. Whether they’re begging or being good, table leftovers can do more harm than good as some foods may be seasoned with harmful ingredients. Feeding pets directly from the table can result in bad habits, picky eaters and unnecessary calories. They may also make guests uncomfortable during family gatherings. During functions, it is important to make sure all guests know they should not feed pets food from the table, as they may see it as a harmless act.

Check ingredients. Some human foods, like grocery store peanut butter, may contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which is toxic to pets. Xylitol can be found in chewing gum, many store-bought baked goods and some household products, like toothpaste. Make sure to check labels and keep any products containing xylitol away from your pets.

Pet proof. Pets are clever and can find their way into almost anything. Make sure homes are pet proof by securing cabinets, tucking away trash cans and ensuring nothing harmful is left on tables. You may need to get on your hands and knees to get a pet’s perspective, allowing you to see all the possible entry points they may be able to access.
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(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)

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